Tag Archives: National Ballet of Canada

The Top 10 Gifts From the World of Ballet in 2014

It’s been said that the best gifts can’t be bought– and this was never more true than this past year. 2014 was a huge year of gifts from ballet, with some high-tech breakthroughs and historical firsts. Here’s my list of the Top Ten Gifts from the ballet world.


1. World Ballet Day. This unprecedented, uber-exciting event gave us twenty-four hours straight of livestream ballet from the Australian Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, The Bolshoi Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the Royal Ballet. More about this event here.

2. Pointe shoes went high tech. Technology brought us a pointe shoe that traces a dancer’s movements and turns them into a new form of art.

3. Ballet West moved into their new home. Sparkly, and brand–spanking new, the company celebrated this new era with an opulent gala.

4. Christopher Stowell returned to San Francisco Ballet. Stowell, a former principal dancer with with San Francisco Ballet,  has already received critical acclaim for his work as ballet master.

5. A new edition of Smuin Ballet’s the Christmas Ballet. A Bay Area favorite, the Christmas Ballet truly is the gift that keeps on giving–an ever-evolving Nutcracker alternative–new kinds of fun every year.

6. The Nutcracker turned 122 this year. Perhaps the best-loved ballet of all time. Read more about it here in this lovely post from Tutus & Tea.

Nutcracker27. 7.Misty Copeland made ballet history. Copeland debuted as American Ballet Theater’s first black Swan Queen, performing Odette/Odile, Swan Lake’s quintessential role.

8. Outstanding dance reads by Misty Copeland, Michael dePrince and Brandy Colbert. Copeland’s Life in Motion and dePrince’s Tking Flight:From War Orphan to Star Ballerina are both memoirs, striking stories of women who go for their dreams despite all odds. Colbert’s Pointe is a dark page-turner set in the ballet world.

9. Australian Ballet wowed the West Coast during their US tour. The company presented Graeme Murphy’s innovative version of Swan Lake–make sure you check out the gorgeous shots in this link.

10. The Bolshoi Ballet’s Nutcracker came to a theater near you. Seeing the Bolshoi was never easier than Solstice Even at cinemas across the globe.

As you open your gifts this holiday season I hope you take a moment to reflect upon the gifts that come without a price tag…the best gifts of all.




Visiting Bethlehem with Miami City Ballet

A few of my favorite dance things

Dance film favorites





World Ballet Day: A Recap

October 1st, 2014 marked a pivotal day in ballet history: the first ever “World Ballet Day”. In an unprecedented bout of internationalism, five of the world’s major ballet companies participated in a 20-hour-long live streaming event that gave ballet fans worldwide a behind-the-scenes look at company classes, rehearsals and coaching.

© Grier Cooper

The event featured the Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet in successive four-hour slots, beginning at 12 p.m. local time in Melbourne, and moving across continents and time zones to Moscow, London, Toronto and San Francisco. The live stream was available on YouTube and on each ballet company’s website. Good news for those who weren’t able to tune in (or to catch anything you may have missed because they happened in the middle of the night while you were sleeping): the day’s streaming will be repeated on YouTube in full so that viewers around the world can catch up on any parts of the day they missed. Edited highlights will then be made available for further viewing.

It was interesting to note the different styles between the companies, although they follow a very similar routine – starting with morning class to warm up the body, moving on to rehearsals for their upcoming performances. What makes each company unique is their approach to choreography and performance.

Some of my favorite moments included:

The National Ballet of Canada’s rehearsal of Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, lead by Anthony Dowell (former director of The Royal Ballet who had the role of Des Grieux created on him 40 years ago).

Watching morning classes (I caught pieces of National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet)…I felt like I was there at the barre again.

Pirouettes from around the world. So fun to see so many different takes on the pirouette, filmed everywhere (from the Golden Gate Bridge to suburban living rooms). 

•Listening to SF Ballet commentary from Christopher Stowell (Ballet Master & Assistant to the Artistic Director), a fellow ballet student many years ago at the School of American Ballet.

Throughout the day, viewers were able to engage and interact with the Artistic Directors, dancers, choreographers and coaches, asking questions via Twitter as well as having the opportunity to contribute by submitting a film of themselves doing a pirouette wherever they are in the world. These will be edited into a film celebrating the worldwide appeal of dance.

Here are some other moments I’m still dying to watch:

The Australian Ballet rehearsing Graeme Murphy’s celebrated Swan Lake

The Bolshoi Ballet rehearsing Jean-Christophe Maillot’s The Taming of the Shrew and Yuri Grigorovich’s Legend of Love

The Royal Ballet rehearsing Christopher Wheeldon’s Aeternum

International ballet star Carlos Acosta coaching Royal Ballet Principal Vadim Muntagirov in the role of Basilio in Don Quixote.

A peek into The National Ballet of Canada’s extensive wardrobe department, plus their take on athletic therapy and the importance of dancer conditioning and cross training.

World Ballet Day developed from Royal Ballet Live which was a nine-hour live streaming via YouTube and The Guardian website in March 2012. This unique event achieved 200,000 views of the live stream and repeat broadcast and a total of 2.5 million views of YouTube Royal Ballet Live material to date.



For Everyone Who Loves Tutus: They’re Not Just For the Stage

Colourful ballet tutu

By Photograph by northbaywanderer, background removed by Editor at Large (Original image posted to Flickr as Ballet Shoes) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This morning as I was driving my daughter to school we passed two high school girls in full costume– green and blue tutus, flower garlands, and face paint. My daughter was mesmerized. “How old do you think those girls are?” she asked. “I want a tutu like that.”

Don’t we all?

The good news is: tutus are plentiful these days, featured everywhere from top fashion runways to Target. For those who have a particular tutu vision in mind, try some handmade, custom tutus on Etsy.

In celebration of all things tutu, check out these high fashion creations made by Giles Deacon and Moschino for the English National Ballet and these tutus recently exhibited at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. For some truly yummy eye candy, check out National Ballet of Canada‘s Tutu Project.
Royal Ballet dancers on the perils of wearing tutus:

Bob Carey’s Tutu Project gets points for the most creative use of tutus I’ve ever seen. After his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, Carey donned a tutu and photographed himself against stunning natural backdrops and colorful landmarks. These photographs were published in a book to raise funds for cancer research.

Curious how they are made? Check out this video from the National Ballet of Canada:

Tutus aren’t just for the stage… or for Halloween. They aren’t just for little kids, either. Me, today, on Halloween. I’m going tutu. How about you?

photo by My Husband

New Ways of Looking At Dance

In a world of ever-changing technologies, it is only natural that these new tools allow us to look at the world in new ways. This has never been more true in the dance world. Here are today’s top 3 picks for new ways of looking at dance:

Guillaume Côté, a principal with the National Ballet of Canada put his own money and lots of fund-raising effort into creating this two-minute video.
 Côté wanted to portray a dancer in ‘the zone’ – to show what it really feels like to dance.
 “I wanted to get the tights off and I wanted to get the costumes off, and just show the sheer physicality of classical dance,” he said in an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning.
The prolonged jumps were captured with a high-definition, high-speed Phantom camera.
 Directed by Ben Shirinian and created for Bravo!FACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent).


New York City Ballet “Pas De Deux” from Galen Summer on Vimeo.

Galen Summer’s documentary “Pas De Deux,” shows New York City Ballet dancers Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette – from a perspective that is so up close and personal – the viewer feels like one of the dancers. For her part of a behind-the-scenes series for the New York City Ballet, Summer and her team figured out how to attach cameras to vests the dancers wore while performing the wedding pas de deux from Tschaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty.” head over to The Atlantic for a breakdown of how it happened, as well as continuing coverage of the NYC Ballet series. You can watch Summer’s other NYC Ballet documentary, ‘Pointe Shoes,’ here. Head here for more of her work.


Le Vent”, a slow-motion video starring Marina Kanno and Giacomo Bevilaqua from Staatsballett Berlin recently went viral for good reason. Visually stunning, every exquisite move is captured in slow motion at 1000 frames per second to the beat of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” (Gigamesh DiscoTech Remix). Directed by Simon Iannelli & Johannes Berger,
camera by Dr. Frank Gabler & Hendrik Nix.